[dropcap]The[/dropcap] other night, I saw something in the sky I couldn’t quite explain. A set of lights off to the north of my house pulsated and moved in a way that I do not think was quite natural.
After watching them for a bit, I figured out that the lights were an airplane’s navigational beacons, but there was something about the atmosphere that night that made them look weird. This mystery was solved in a few minutes, but I have seen things in the sky before that took a bit longer to explain.
The first time I saw a UFO, for lack of a better term, I was a teenager. One afternoon, a friend called and asked if I was watching the weird object over Attalla. My buddy sounded a bit unnerved, which was unusual for one of the most unflappable guys I’ve ever known. He told me where it was, and I went outside to take a peek.
I saw it immediately. Sure enough, it looked like a round capsule of some sort with lots of lights just floating over Attalla. Although it was high in the sky, it looked really big.
I went back into the house and got back on the phone. I told my buddy I saw it, too. While we were discussing what it might be, I could hear the radio playing at his house over the phone. He told me that the DJ was talking about the object, so I turned on my radio.
Although we had convinced ourselves that the UFO was some sort of manmade object, it was quite a relief to hear the DJ at Q104 say that it was a weather balloon. Evidently, lots of people had spotted it and called it in. That’s the first time I learned not to jump to conclusions about objects in the sky.
The next time I saw a UFO — three of them, in fact — I was attending Berry College over in Rome, Ga.
Late one Sunday night, I was driving back to Berry after spending the weekend at home. I had just crossed over Weiss Lake into Cedar Bluff when I saw three huge saucer-shaped objects flying low over the horizon and headed my way. I was so astounded that I pulled over in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot to watch.
Of course, I didn’t have a camera. No one ever has a camera when one is most needed. As I watched these three massive saucers heading toward me, I started feeling a rumbling. I didn’t hear the rumbling — I felt it. Wow. Then I noticed the rumbling sounded a lot like turboprops from an airplane. When the “saucers” passed over me, I realized what they were — three Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft with all their lights on and their rear cargo doors open.
Later, I found out that the Air Force practiced drogue parachute cargo drops at a location over in Georgia. That’s when a C-130 flies low over a field with its rear cargo doors open and drops large pallets of equipment with the aid of a parachute that pulls the cargo out the back of a plane. This method allows a C-130 to drop off large amounts of cargo without landing. What I saw was a trio of these massive planes securing from a drop while maxing their engines to gain altitude. Truly an awe-inspiring sight, but not a UFO sighting.
The last time I saw a UFO, I was driving my mother to her home back in the mid-1990s. As we passed over the top of a hill, we both saw a large silver saucer low on the horizon over the top of another hill in front of us. Again, it looked huge. Mom sounded unnerved when she asked, “What is that thing?” I replied, “I don’t know, but let’s go find out.” I don’t think Mom liked that idea too much, but I was driving. So, Mom and I chased the UFO over Stowers Hill.
As we got closer and closer, the UFO got smaller and smaller. Finally, we caught the UFO and its crew. It was a mother and a father and their two children flying a silver kite over Stowers Hill Elementary School. Granted, it was a big kite, but it wasn’t nearly as big as we thought it was.
Mom and I had a good laugh over that one. From a distance with the fading sun hitting it just right, that kite looked like a flying saucer right out of a Hollywood movie. Honestly, I couldn’t have said what it was when Mom and I first spotted it, but I knew enough by then to go see what it was.
Over the years, people I know and trust have told me personal stories of UFO sightings that I cannot explain. I’ve read books and seen television programs about other sightings I cannot explain, if the information presented was correct. Maybe there’s something up there; maybe there isn’t. I don’t know. All I know is that my three UFO sightings turned out to be something mundane. Well, except for the C-130s — that was still pretty cool.David Murdock - Gadsden Times